As people age into their senior years, their mobility and balance often changes, which increases the chances of having a fall. According to the CDC, one in four people over the age of 65 in the United States fell in 2014. That adds up to about 29 million falls and a shocking 27,000 deaths as a result of the falls. Falls are also the leading cause of fatal injuries in seniors and can cause hip fractures, head trauma, and broken bones. On an emotional level, seniors who fall can become fearful of going out or participating in regular activities, which is detrimental to their physical and mental health.
Knowing how seniors can prevent falls is important for reducing the risks of injury. With or without injury, falls greatly impact quality of life. There are many factors that can lead to falls, such as:
Side effects from medications
Obstacles and hazards within the home
Illness, injury, and chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease
Decreased flexibility and mobility due to aging
A change in surroundings
Not having enough help or taking on too much
These are just some of the factors that can increase the risk of falling. Depending on a person’s situation or lifestyle, they may be at a lesser or greater risk of falling than their peers.
3 Creative Ways to Reduce Falls in Seniors
There are many ways to reduce falls for seniors. Outlined below are three creative methods that each have their own set of benefits. These ideas think a little more outside the box than the standard ways to prevent falls in seniors, and are well-suited for people looking to add something interesting to their lives.
Rethink Home Design
Standard recommendations for preventing falls within the home include installing railings and grab bars, adding non-slip surfaces, and removing obstacles. Rethinking home design in a way that is tailored to the unique needs of an individual can reveal ideas that are less common. For example, many homes follow a bathroom/kitchen/dining room/living room model, but why not rethink the use of these spaces? Does the senior really need a dining room if they take their meals in the living room? Homes can be reconfigured to include exercise rooms, spaces for meditation, indoor gardens, and even therapy swimming pools and saunas.
Join an Innovative Mobility Class
The options for classes designed for seniors has greatly expanded. Basic stretching and exercise on a daily basis is important. If seniors want to really gain muscle strength and flexibility, there are plenty of innovative classes designed just for that. There are yoga classes for seniors that focus on the specific joint issues that are common in older adults. There are even yoga classes that include therapy animals for extra emotional support and as a way to reduce the risks of loneliness, which is common among seniors. The more adventurous types can try modified classes for activities like dance, parkour, and martial arts. These modified classes are specifically created with fall prevention in mind. Seniors can gain new skills, try something exciting and new, and develop fall prevention techniques in the process.
Hire a Home Caregiver
Many seniors have the support of friends and family caregivers, but having the assistance of a home caregiver who is professionally trained can make a world of difference when it comes to quality of life. This is especially the case for seniors who have dementia or for LGBT seniors who require caregivers who understand their unique circumstances and are able to provide a level of confidentiality. One of the reasons Alegre Home Care is an LGBT-certified home care agency is to address this need. There are also many seniors who don’t have any help and who try to go it alone. There is no shame in asking for help, especially when there are professional home caregivers ready to assist.
If you are interested in receiving home care services or if you have questions, the friendly staff at Alegre Home Care is happy to help! Give us a call at one of our Northern California locations.